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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-06-15
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: firstname.lastname@example.orgARCHIVES
U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON'S
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, June 15, 2009
(The noon briefing will resume tomorrow, Tuesday, June 16, 2009)
BAN KI-MOON CALLS FOR GLOBAL RESPONSE TO FACE HEALTH CHALLENGES
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened this morning the Forum on Advancing Health in the Face of Crisis. In his
remarks, he said that the declaration of the first influenza pandemic in over 40 years reminds us of our global vulnerability and the need for a global response.
The Secretary-General also said that investing in health could spare both people and economies the high cost of inaction. Investments to scale up basic health services can bring a six-fold economic return, he added. He particularly underlined the global impact of maternal and newborn deaths, estimated at $15 billion a year in lost productivity. In that regard, he announced that with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he would convene the major players on maternal and child health to leverage commitments to accelerate progress and address critical gaps.
The Secretary-General also warned that, as a result of the global crisis, inequities between rich and poor countries in access to health care are likely to increase. He noted that the decisions made in the next months would be critical to sustaining the gains made so far. He called on the G-8 and the G-20 to stand by their promises and do what they know is right.
The Secretary-General and the World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan then held a joint press encounter.
BAN KI MOON ON IRAN: GENUINE WILL OF THE IRANIAN PEOPLE SHOULD BE FULLY RESPECTED
In response to a question about the elections this past weekend in Iran, the Secretary-General said that he has been closely following the situation and has taken note of the instruction by the religious leaders that there should be an investigation into this issue. He said that his position is that "the genuine will of the Iranian people should be fully respected."
BAN KI-MOON FORMALLY ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENT OF BILL CLINTON AS SPECIAL ENVOY TO HAITI
The Secretary-General had a press conference this morning along with U.S. President Bill Clinton to formally announce his appointment as United Nations Special Envoy to Haiti. Haitis Foreign Minister Alrich Nicolas was also present.
In his remarks, the Secretary-General said Haiti was at a turning point and had a real chance for stability and potential prosperity. He added that, with President Clinton, he wanted to support the efforts of President Préval and Prime Minister Pierre-Louis and send out a message to the international community: Haiti needs and deserves our help.
(A transcript of the joint press conference to follow.)
BAN KI-MOON NOTES URGENCY OF ENTRY INTO FORCE OF COMPREHENSIVE NUCLEAR TEST BAN TREATY
The conclusion of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) more than a decade ago was an important milestone in norm-setting and marked a significant achievement in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation. But for too long, it has not been brought into force. The price is high. There is no doubt that the longer the Treaty is delayed, the greater the risks and consequences that nuclear weapons will again be tested. By outlawing all nuclear tests, the CTBT in force would greatly contribute to global efforts to curb the proliferation of nuclear weapons while advancing nuclear disarmament.
In a statement issued in his name, the Secretary-General said: The recent nuclear test by the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) has reminded the international community of the urgency of bringing the Treaty into force without further delay. In this regard, I welcome the fact that Security Council resolution 1874, adopted on 12 June 2009, has called upon the DPRK to join the Treaty as soon as possible.
Let me reiterate my strong appeal that all States that have not yet done so sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty as promptly as possible. I have publicly advocated the importance of the entry into force of the Treaty whenever possible, including in multilateral and bilateral settings. The international community should seize the current moment. I particularly commend the new administration for its pledges to work toward U.S. ratification of the Treaty, which I believe would add greater impetus in this endeavour.
As the Depository of the Treaty, I reaffirm the commitment of the United Nations to continue working together with the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) in facilitating the entry into force of the Treaty, including through the 2009 Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT.
OTHER DEVELOPMENTS IN THE U.N. SYSTEM
BAN KI-MOON REPORTS ON INCREASED FIGHTING ON CHAD-SUDAN BORDER
Increased fighting on the Chad-Sudan border has kept security and other conditions in Darfur still wanting, the Secretary-General says in his monthly Darfur report to the Security Council.
In the document released this morning, Ban Ki-moon also says that the military strength of the UN/AU mission (UNAMID) now stands at more than 13,400 troops out of the required 19,600. However, the persisting lack of proper equipment, including 18 medium utility helicopters, remains a major source of concern, among others. Peacekeepers also face continued Government-imposed restrictions in its freedom of movement.
The Secretary-General also stresses that carjacking and banditry remain significant risks to UN staff.
The humanitarian situation, meanwhile, is showing signs of improvement since mid-May when the government took action to mitigate the aftermath of the expulsion of some of the leading NGO aid providers in March. Much work, however, remains to be done to address gaps in some life-saving sectors.
In concluding, the Secretary-General notes the recent appearance before the International Criminal Court of Darfur rebel leader Bahr Idriss Abu Garda for alleged crimes against international peacekeepers. He also calls for a political solution to the Darfur crisis, citing the approaching 2010 nationwide election as added incentive to speed up the peace process.
Meanwhile, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, Ameerah Haq, has
condemned Fridays deadly attack on a World Food Programme barge convoy. The WFP barge carried food and other aid on the Sobat River when it was set upon by local ethnic fighters at an improvised block near Nyariem village, in Upper Nile State. The assault led to a sustained battle between the attackers and the southern Sudanese police escort that killed unspecified numbers of police and ethnic fighters.
The Humanitarian Coordinator who is also the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General voiced deep concern at the continued blockade of the Sobat River. She repeated the Mission (UNMIS)s concerns about ethnic violence in the region. She also urged local authorities to help end the fighting and realize sustainable reconciliation. She pledged UN support for such an initiative.
LIBERIA STILL REMAINS A FRAGILE STATE
The UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Alain Le Roy is in Liberia, where he has been having meetings with top officials of the UN Mission in Liberia, UNMIL. Le Roy is expected to hold discussions with Liberias President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf tomorrow.
Meanwhile, in a report on Liberia that is available as a document today, the Secretary-General says that Liberia still remains a fragile state though the country has made commendable progress since the end of fourteen years of conflict. He is therefore calling on all international partners to continue with their valuable assistance and support so the country could further consolidate the peace and establish the conditions for lasting stability.
The Secretary-General is also recommending that the current troop strength of the UN Mission in Liberia, UNMIL, of 10,231 personnel should be reduced to 8,202 by May next year and be maintained through to the elections scheduled for 2011. This will include UNMIL military guard force of 250 troops that will continue to provide security at the Special Court for Sierra Leone until the completion of the Courts work.
The report further states that the final withdrawal of UNMIL after the 2011 elections should be planned after a further technical assessment and should involve the Government, the United Nations, and other partners, including member states of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS.
KOSOVO: SECRETARY-GENERAL ENCOURAGED BY U.N.-E.U. COOPERATION
report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) is now out as a document today.
In it, the Secretary-General welcomes the assumption of full operational capability by European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX). He says that its operational role in the rule of law sector, under the overall authority and within the status-neutral framework of the United Nations, is key to the maintenance of stability on the ground.
He adds that he is encouraged by the level of cooperation between UNMIK and EULEX on the ground, and expects that such cooperation will continue and be strengthened in all relevant areas.
The Secretary-General also says that UNMIK, as reconfigured, can among others continue to play an effective and useful role in mediating between communities, in promoting practical arrangements that can benefit both Pristina and Belgrade.
SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES SANCTIONS ON IRAN, UNOMIG
The Security Council this morning heard a briefing from Ambassador Yukio Takasu of Japan on the work of the 1737 Sanctions Committee, dealing with sanctions on Iran.
Afterward, the Council went into consultations to discuss the extension of the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG).
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER CALLS FOR EASING OF RESTRICTIONS ON GAZA
Speaking to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay today called for the crippling conditions on imports and exports traveling into and out of Gaza to be eased. The blockade and other restrictions that violate human rights must be lifted, she said.
Pillay once more stressed the need for full cooperation with, unimpeded access to, and support of the ongoing work of the independent fact-finding mission headed by Justice Richard Goldstone.
The President of the Human Rights Council added that Goldstones mission intends to return to Gaza for a second visit towards the end of June, adding that the missions members said that they still hoped to visit areas of southern Israel and the West Bank.
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL UNDERLINES LINKS BETWEEN CLIMATE CHANGE AND HUMAN RIGHTS
This afternoon in Geneva, the Human Rights
Council held a panel discussion on the relationship between climate change and human rights. In her opening remarks, the United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Kyung-wha Kang, said that countries had to bear in mind the grave human rights consequences of a failure to take decisive action now on climate change.
She highlighted the a climate injustice as many of the least developed countries and small island States which have contributed least to global greenhouse gas emissions, will be worst affected by global warming. She added that the need to ensure a just and equitable sharing of burden lies at the heart of international climate change negotiations.
The Deputy High Commissioner said that the human rights framework complements the Climate Change Convention in one important aspect: it brings more clearly into focus the adverse effects of climate change that are felt not only by States and economies, but also by individuals and communities.
U.N. ENVOY FOR AFGHANISTAN CALLS FOR CANDIDATES TO CAMPAIGN WITH DIGNITY
The Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, Kai Eide, appealed to all Afghan candidates to campaign with dignity and fairness, on the eve of the start of the campaign for the country's Presidential and Provincial Council elections.
He stressed that intimidation, inflammatory language and violence have no place in the election campaign, and he also urged full respect for the impartiality of election officials.
Speaking via videoconference to NATO Defense Ministers last Friday, Eide stressed that every effort must be made to avoid a situation where more troops and more fighting leads to more civilian casualties and behaviour that offends the population. He said that there is an urgent need to review the operations of special forces, including how such operations can be Afghanised.
SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR IRAQ TO TAKE UP ASSIGNMENT AS WFP DEPUTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Iraq, leaves Baghdad after almost two years as the UN's top official in Iraq and will be taking up his new assignment as Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Programme, where he will continue to take a close interest in matters dealing with the Middle East region, including Iraq.
De Mistura said he was very hopeful that a mechanism set up between the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government to discuss issues of common concern, with UN facilitation, could become operational in the coming days, based on the principles of a single united Iraq and respect for the Constitution.
Over the weekend, de Mistura condemned in the strongest terms the shocking assassination of Harith al-Ubaidi, head of the Accordance Front-Al Tawaffuq in the Iraqi Council of Representatives.
UNDP ADMINISTRATOR VISITS VOTER REGISTRATION CENTER IN DR CONGO
UNDP Administrator Helen Clark arrived in the capital Kinshasa where she met with President Joseph Kabila and later visited the UNDP supported registration center.
As a first step towards holding local elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Independent Electoral Commission, begun registering new voters on June 7th and will continue for 60 days in Kinshasa. It will then be rolled out to the rest of the country.
More than 6 million new voters are expected to register over the next months using 6000 portable registration kits that include a laptop to enter the data, a webcam, fingerprint scanner, a printer and generator.
UNDP and the international community continue to support the Congolese government and people in its efforts to hold transparent and fair local elections.
The visit was part of Clarks first visit to Africa as Administrator that took her first to Liberia before arriving in Kinshasa. She then visited eastern Congo before continuing her African tour to Ethiopia.
NEARLY HALF OF ALL ROAD DEATHS ARE PEDESTRIANS, CYCLIST AND MOTORCYCLISTS
The World Health Organization (WHO) says that nearly that almost half of the estimated 1.27 million people who die in road traffic crashes each year are pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists. WHO released today the first global assessment of road safety showing that while progress has been made towards protecting people in cars, the needs of these vulnerable groups of road users are not being met.
The Global status report on road safety provides the first worldwide analysis of how well countries are implementing a number of effective road safety measures such as limiting speed, reducing drink-driving, and increasing the use of seatbelts. With information from 178 countries, the report says that while road traffic death rates in many high-income countries have stabilized or declined in recent decades, road deaths are increasing in most regions of the world. If trends continue unabated, it adds, they will rise to an estimated 2.4 million a year by 2030.
100-DAY COUNTDOWN TO INTERNATIONAL PEACE DAY BEGINS
On Saturday, the Secretary-General launched the WMD-WeMustDisarm multiplatform campaign for the 100-day countdown to the International Day of Peace on September 21, which this year is focusing on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The campaign is joined by Rainn Wilson, the actor featured in a U.S. television series The Office. Other celebrities will be coming on board in the next few days.
Every day until 21 September, the Secretary-General and his partners will raise awareness of the costs and dangers of nuclear weapons by issuing a daily reason to disarm, via Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, email and radio.
The Secretary-General has so far sent out three tweets, which can also be found by logging on to Twitter, or on the dedicated Facebook and MySpace pages. These have also been re-tweeted by Rainn Wilson to his over 815,000 followers on the micro-blogging site.
''COOL UN" INITIATIVE RESUMES TODAY
Due to the success of the "Cool UN" initiative implemented during the summer of 2008, the Secretary-General has announced that the programme will resume at Headquarters beginning on 15 June 2009 and continue for a period of three months. At UN Headquarters complex, the thermostat settings will be raised from 72 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit in offices and from 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit in the established conference rooms.
The programme will reduce emissions, has the effect of increasing awareness among staff and allows the UN to lead by example in the global fight against climate change.
As was the case during the "Cool UN" in summer 2008, United Nations staff are encouraged to dress in lighter clothing for a business setting, including national dress.
The "Cool UN" trial period in August 2008 resulted in savings of 30 million pounds of steam, translating into 2,000 tonnes of CO2. This is the carbon footprint equivalent to a passenger making 710 round-trip trans-Atlantic flights.
Similar programmes have since been adopted by other UN offices away from Headquarters.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
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